Folks who visit the Grand Strand during the holidays know about all the major lights displays. There's the Nights of a Thousand Candles event at Brookgreen Gardens (ending Dec 17-20), the local Christmas Tree Lightings and the new North Myrtle Beach Sports and Recreation Complex's Christmas Wonderland (through Dec. 31), just to name a few. That doesn't include the parades and fireworks shows scheduled for December.
But longtime guests know that some of the best Christmas lights displays in Myrtle Beach can be found by riding around local neighborhoods. Private displays on front lawns can amaze the whole family from the comfort of your car window, if you know where to go. Here are some of the best neighborhoods where you can spot some incredible decorations and lights displays:
- Dunes Club: Located less than 1 mile from Long Bay Resort, this golf community features some of the oldest and largest homes in Myrtle Beach. This quiet community comes alive at night during the holidays with dozens of dazzling lights displays that attract crowds cruising the blocks to get a front-row view. Turn right on Ocean Boulevard as you exit Long Bay and another right on Club Drive, the main thoroughfare through the Dunes Club. Pick a side road and start exploring. As long as you can see the ocean you can't get lost. The north side dead ends at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club.
- Grande Dunes: This nearby community is actually made up of several smaller upscale neighborhoods, some with security gates that require passcodes to enter. However, in the spirit of the holiday season, some leave their gates open to the public during Christmastime to share their well-manicured lawn displays with the everyone. Turn right on Ocean Boulevard as you exit Long Bay and left on 82nd Avenue North. This road leads to several neighborhood entrances, including the bridge that crosses the Intracoastal Waterway. Check out the lights at the Grande Dunes Marina below the bridge.
- Northwoods: Located just a few blocks inland from Long Bay, this neighborhood puts out some top-notch displays. It's impossible to get lost since all side streets end in the name “wood” and connect 76th and 79th Avenues North. Make a zigzag pattern through the neighborhood and feel free to pull off to the edge of the side streets to snap photos or get a better view. The traffic is light and neighbors are used to visitors checking out the lights.
- Ocean Forest: The nice neighborhood where Long Bay is located also has some beautiful displays at private homes that you can see on foot, weather permitting. Just a few blocks south and one block inland is Porcher Drive, which slices between Ocean Boulevard and Kings Highway. This quiet side street has large homes with some amazing displays on their lawns. Locals ride on golf carts to see the lights come on just before sunset. Porcher ends at 63rd Avenue North but continues a few blocks south all the way to 48th Avenue North, where the best displays can be found.
- Pine Lakes: One of the oldest neighborhoods in Myrtle Beach is home to the first golf course on the Grand Strand, Pine Lakes International Country Club, aka “The Granddaddy”. On both the north and south sides of the golf course are new and old Pine Lakes, where many longtime locals have lived for generations. These folks know how to put on a display with rows of Christmas lights strung from live oak trees and palmettos. At least one street (47th Avenue North) is popularly known as “Santa Claus Lane” among residents who battle it out to see which house can put on the best show. Pine Lakes is located about 1.5 miles south of Long Bay on Kings Highway.
Long Bay Resort loves to treat its guests like family, so feel free to act like a local and take in some of the sights that most visitors never get to see. And after a night of checking out the lights, come back for a quiet night with the lights out at Long Bay.